Annual, 10-70(125) x 5-30(100) cm, very variable in shape, erect, ascending or decumbent, in living stage light green to fresh green, under stress conditions often yellowish, dried specimens pale green, never turning brown or blackish; glabrous. Stem richly and repeatedly branched, at base up to 5(10) cm thick, often becoming woody; in young condition pale green throughout, later turning whitish to cream-coloured, terete or delicately striate; branches erect or ascending, the lower often spreading, terminating in bracteate, loose or dense, shorter or longer spike-like inflorescences, in apical parts often flexuose. Leaves very succulent, (7)10-17(20) x 1-2.5 mm, semi-terete or terete, the lower linear or oblong, the upper narrow obovate to clavate, obtuse, at base attenuate into a short petiole, the lower straight, the upper arcuate, ascending to spreading with C4 anatomy and internal aqueous tissue. Bracts subclavate to clavate, arcuate, spreading, the lower much longer, the upper as long as or even shorter than floral and fruit clusters. Bracteoles 0,8-1 mm long, narrow ovate, trullate or triangular, acute or acuminate, the margins lacerate to toothed. Glomerules (1)5-30-flowered, inserted on very short axillary branches, sometimes fused for a very short distance with the petiole of the subtending bract. Perfect flowers weakly protandrous, fig-shaped, 2-2.5 x 2.5 mm; tepals very succulent, fused for 1/2-2/3, in the lowermost 1 mm forming a compact cone, higher up widened into a bowl-like structure, the tepal-lobes very succulent, incurved, green with hyaline margins, somewhat cucullate. Stamens 5, the thread-like filaments inserted on an epitepalous rim, after anthesis elongating up to 1,5 mm; anthers 0.6-0.7 x 0.5 mm, divided for c. 1/2. Ovary semi-inferior, in its lower, ovule-bearing part fused with the perianth, its upper part forming a ca. 1 mm long column or slender cone; stigmas (2)3(4), 0.7-1.2(1.5) mm long, with long papillae, inserted in the centre of the collar-like ovary apex. Fruiting perianth somewhat enlarged, up to 3 mm long, fig-shaped, often partly or completely spongy. Seeds vertical, 0.9-1.2 x 0.75-1 mm, 0.6-0.75 mm thick, slightly flattened, beak short; testa black, shining, smooth to delicately sculptured.